One of our many favorites from the legendary Oakland-based label Black Jazz, double bassist Henry Franklin’s The Skipper At Home takes off right where his solo debut The Skipper left off with six powerful and energetic soul-jazz pieces in the vein of Donald Byrd’s early 70’s recordings (Ethiopian Knights, Fancy Free, Kofi). Franklin’s distinctive bass tone shines at the forefront as he employs a range of playing styles including a sharp, percussive attack that cuts through the mix like a knife on opener “Blue Lights” and keeps the music pulsing forward. Our personal favorite “Soft Spirit” shows off a more melodic side to Franklin with drummer Leon “Ndugu” Chancelor providing a perfect dream-like atmosphere through beautifully restrained playing in combination with sparkling chimes. Like many of the great Black Jazz releases, The Skipper At Home would later be sampled in hip-hop records including A Tribe Called Quest’s 1996 album Beats, Rhymes and Life.
– Phil Cho
Recommended – A1 Blue Lights, A3 Soft Spirit
Tags: Black Jazz / Samples / Soul-jazz